The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien
The Things They Carried Friendship Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Story Title.Paragraph)
You make close friends. You become part of a tribe and you share the same blood—you give it together, you take it together. (The Ghost Soldiers.9)
After O'Brien's been sent to the rear, he reminisces about the war in the boonies. Again, we can sense the inadequacy of the word "friendship" to describe the way the soldiers feel about each other. They're not just friends, they're part of a tribe—blood brothers.
"[Jorgenson]'s with us now."
"And I'm not?'
Sanders looked at me for a moment.
"No," he said. "I guess you're not." (The Ghost Soldiers.198)
The bonds of combat only really last while the soldiers are in combat. No matter how inept Jorgenson was at the beginning, he's become a member of the tribe, while O'Brien, who's in a cushy position at the rear, no longer is. This is true even though Jorgenson joined the group way after O'Brien did. It has nothing to do with seniority and everything to do with being part of the fighting group.
He was sitting there with Dave Jensen and Mitchell Sanders and a few others, and he seemed to fit in very nicely, all smiles and group rapport. That was probably what cinched it. (The Ghost Soldiers.111-2)
The final thing that pushes O'Brien over the edge, that makes him go through with his revenge plan, is that Jorgenson fits with the group now and O'Brien doesn't. It infuriates O'Brien as much if not more than the original crime of not taking care of O'Brien's wound properly.